After the American nuclear carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt was forced to dock in Guam while in the Western Pacific, unleashing a storm of controversy over what to do with its crew under urgent need of immediate quarantine — and now with at least 230 sailors confirmed for COVID-19 — another carrier’s mission has been cut short, this time belonging to a close US ally.
France’s lone nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, will return home early from deployment in the Atlantic after some 40 sailors have been put under medical observation for coronavirus, the defense ministry said Wednesday.
The Charles de Gaulle has also put the suspected cases in isolation, believing them likely sick with COVID-19, the French defense ministry statement continued. However, serious or critical illness aboard the ship has yet to be reported.
“The first cases showed symptoms recently,” the ministry said. “There are no signs of aggravated cases among the patients.”
“As of today, a screening team with test means will be sent aboard the aircraft carrier to investigate the cases that have arisen and to hinder the spread of the virus on board the ship,” the statement said.
“It was decided to bring forward its return to Toulon, initially scheduled for 23 April,” the ministry said.
The ship has a crew of almost 1,800 sailors and recently participated in NATO exercises, after which it was slated to return to the Mediterranean.
Specifically it was to continue France’s Operation Chammal in support of anti-ISIL missions in the Middle East, which has now been cut short.
No doubt enemies of the United States and Europe are taking note of the ease with which this virus took out multi-billion dollar state-of-the-art aircraft carriers, which up to now appeared unbeatable and unable to be thwarted from their missions.